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Middle East

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Israel on its policy priorities for (a) Gaza and (b) the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. (292961)

We are in regular contact with Israeli Ministers and officials. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minster spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu on 18 September. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Defence Minister Barak on 13 October.

These discussions cover a range of issues, including Israeli policies in the west bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza. Israel has legitimate concerns about its security and is right to demand the immediate release of Gilad Shalit. However, we are clear where we believe Israeli policies undermine hopes of peace and cause Palestinian civilians to suffer, notably through Israeli settlement building and movement restrictions in the west bank and east Jerusalem, and the restrictions on people and goods moving in and out of Gaza.